UpWork’s Fees Have Gone Up… Here Are 3 Alternative Ways To Find Clients


UpWork announced some significant changes to their business model last week.

If you use UpWork, I’m sure you’re already aware of the changes. But, just in case you’re unaware, here’s the scoop.

UpWork is transitioning from a flat 10% cost to a sliding scale fee that favors large projects and long-term client/freelancer relationships.

This will be a terrific move for some freelancers. Developers that work on large projects worth $10,000 or more will pay lower rates. Win!

Your prices are increasing if you are a writer, marketer, designer, or any other form of freelancer who works with clients on smaller contracts or one-time projects. Bummer!

So, what are your options? Some freelancers who rely on UpWork may need to reconsider their strategy. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Use Different Job Boards

UpWork is unquestionably the industry leader, but they’re not the only player in the freelance game. There are certainly other niche-oriented job sites where you can get work depending on your specialization.

These are only a few examples. Check out their terms of service and take a look around. Some of these may be more intriguing than UpWork to you.

Network both on- and offline

Networking, ugh!

That said, networking is critical when you’re freelancing and running your own business. Don’t think of it as attending cheesy/stuffy networking events and uncomfortably passing your business card to strangers. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to meet cool people online and in-person to exchange ideas, form relationships, and start freelancing.

An added bonus, when meeting people in person, you won’t have to pay any fees.

What are some good places for this?

  • Facebook Groups – Find where your ideal clients hang out on Facebook and start interacting with them in those groups.
  • LinkedIn Groups — same as before, but for LinkedIn
  • Slack Groups
  • Meetups — visit MeetUp.com to locate entrepreneurial meetups in your region (or meetups that relate to your ideal client). Start attending Meetups and creating new business acquaintances.
  • Periscope, Twitter, and Instagram. The social web.
  • Quora and Reddit – Great places to show off your problem-solving skills.

Get Repeat Business and Referrals

The goal is to have recurring clients and a steady stream of work coming in via referrals. No job applications? Yes, please!

For most new freelancers, this isn’t a reality, but even if you’re just getting started, you can start putting things in place today to make this a reality in the not-too-distant future.

How do you go about doing it?

  • Step 1: Provide outstanding service to your client. Duh.
  • Step 2: Ask the client for a testimonial when finishing a project.
  • Step 3: Add the testimonial to your freelance/personal website and portfolio. You now have some social proof.
  • Step 4: Maintain contact with previous clients. Send them emails every now and then to see how they’re doing. Retweet what they’re saying. Leave a comment on their blog or Instagram account. This isn’t a request for additional work; it’s simply being a good person and remaining in their thoughts.
  • Step 5: Now that you’re friends, you can ask them if they have any upcoming projects they’d want to work on or if they know someone who could benefit from your services. If they send work your way, give them a “favorite customer discount” or a referral fee.

The modifications to UpWork might cost you hundreds of dollars every year, if not more. It can be worthwhile to experiment with fresh methods for locating clients and gigs.

Please let me know if you’ve found clients using other niche-oriented job boards or other methods.

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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